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MALOY v. FRIEDMAN

September 17, 1948

MALOY
v.
FRIEDMAN



The opinion of the court was delivered by: KLOEB

This matter is before the Court upon motion to remand. The motion is based upon the ground that, under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, Sec. 16(b), 29 U.S.C.A. § 216(b), Judicial Code, 28 U.S.C.A., the State Court has jurisdiction and the action is not removable. In support, counsel for plaintiff cite Johnson v. Butler Bros., 8 Cir., 1947, 162 F.2d 87, which so holds.

Counsel on the other side contend the question has been decided in this Court to the contrary in the case of Fellabaum v. Swift & Co., No. 4683, in 1941 in which the motion to remand was denied without opinion. Id., 54 F.Supp. 353.

 'There can be no just criticism of those courts which have concluded that the language used by Congress was inadequate to disclose a clear intent that actions brought in a state court under the Act should not be removable. However, it is our opinion that Congress, in providing that an 'action to recover such liability may be maintained in any court of competent jurisdiction * * * ' and that 'The court in such action shall, in addition to any judgment awarded to the plaintiff * * * , allow a reasonable attorney's fee * * * and costs * * * ,' intended not only that the action, might be commenced in any court of competent jurisdiction, but that it could be prosecuted to final judgment in the court in which it was commenced. If that was not the intention of Congress, the words 'may be maintained in any court of competent jurisdiction' merely state a truism and are surplusage.

 'We think that the rational construction of Sec. 16(b) is that contended for by the plaintiff and that it does no violence to the removal statute. If Congress intended, as we think it did, that cases such as this should not be subject to removal, they are excepted from the effect of the removal statute, which is neither impaired nor repealed with respect to cases which properly come within its purview.

 'There was nothing in the practical situation with which Congress was confronted when it enacted the statute in question which would negative an intent on its part to permit an employee to enforce his right of action in his local state courts. There are many obvious practical considerations which can be urged in support of the probable existence of such a Congressional intent.'

 The Court discussed the law at some length and in the footnotes cited cases pro and con, listing 19 cases in nine states denying removability and 8 cases in six states sustaining the right to remove. Cases on both sides are listed in Kentucky, New York and New Jersey.

 In the case of Garner v. Mengel Co., D.C.W.D. Ky., 1943, 50 F.Supp. 794, 795, it was held:

 'Where question of remand is doubtful, doubt should be resolved in favor of remanding the action to the state court. Jud. Code Sec. 28, 28 U.S.C.A. 71.

 'An employee's action to recover unpaid wages and liquidated damages under Fair Labor Standards Act, which had been commenced in state court, would be remanded to state court in view of doubt as to whether provision of act that action to recover liability may be 'maintained' in any court of competent jurisdiction prohibits removal of such action to District Court. Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, Sec. 16, 29 U.S.C.A. § 216; Jud. Code Secs. 24(1, 8), 28, 28 U.S.C.A. §§ 41(1, 8), 71.

 'To 'maintain' a suit is to uphold, continue on foot, and keep from collapse a suit already begun. The word 'maintain' means to continue or persevere in or with; to carry on; as to maintain an attack, a correspondence, a legal action. To hold or keep in any particular state or condition, especially in a state of efficiency or validity; to support, sustain or uphold; to keep up; not to suffer to fall or decline; as to maintain a certain degree of heat in a furnace; to maintain a fence, health, peace, one's reputation.'

 This case was decided by Judge Miller, now of the Court of Appeals of this Circuit. He discussed the contentions in the case, stating:

 ' * * * Plaintiff contends that the provision of Section 16 of the Act, which provides that the action 'may be maintained in any court of competent jurisdiction' prevents such removal, in that the word 'maintained' means more than commence and includes the element of continuing with to a conclusion. He points out that since the action as originally filed in the Fulton Circuit Court was in a court of competent jurisdiction, it will not ...


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